Personalised nutrition is trendy, but can it help us eat less junk food?

Katherine Livingstone, Deakin University

Australian adults get round one-third of their energy intake from junk meals.

Also referred to as discretionary meals, these embody meals reminiscent of biscuits, truffles, sausages, sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol.

Unhealthy diets are a key purpose why virtually one in every three adults in Australia is overweight. Excess weight additionally will increase threat of coronary heart illness, sort 2 diabetes and a few cancers.

Our new analysis, printed right now within the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, has discovered personalised vitamin recommendation, in comparison with regular dietary recommendation, helped adults to eat much less junk meals.

What is personalised vitamin?

Personalised nutrition includes tailoring dietary recommendation to enhance well being, based mostly on the traits of the person. So dietary recommendation may very well be tailor-made based mostly on something from the individual’s consuming habits and weight to their levels of cholesterol and genetics.

The idea of tailor-made dietary recommendation isn’t new — dietitians have been giving personalised recommendation for hundreds of years. What is new is the rise in recognition of latest applied sciences, apps and wearable units, which permit for detailed monitoring of particular person well being. Health-care professionals can then use this information to supply personalised recommendation.

New applied sciences have fuelled the rise of personalised vitamin. Shutterstock

To perceive whether or not personalised vitamin recommendation improves dietary habits, we performed the Food4Me Study.

Our analysis

We recruited 1,607 grownup volunteers from throughout seven European international locations right into a six-month dietary research.

At the start, adults had been allotted into both a management group, or certainly one of three personalised vitamin teams.

Usual dietary recommendation

In the management group adults obtained regular dietary recommendation. For instance, “eat no less than 5 serves of fruit and greens every day”. (In Australia the advice is no less than seven serves daily.)


Personalised dietary recommendation

To assist us perceive one of the simplest ways to personalise dietary recommendation, the three personalised vitamin teams obtained tailor-made dietary recommendation based mostly on totally different units of traits. All recommendation was based mostly on behaviour change strategies, reminiscent of swapping discretionary meals for more healthy options.

Group 1 obtained recommendation based mostly on what they ate.

For instance, for somebody consuming numerous salty meat merchandise, we advised them to scale back their consumption of processed meats and pies, and swap salami and bacon for turkey or beef.

Group 2 obtained recommendation based mostly on their weight loss program and physique measurements.

For instance, if somebody had excessive waist circumference and levels of cholesterol, and was snacking on biscuits and chocolate, we advised them they had been carrying an excessive amount of weight round their center and had excessive levels of cholesterol so would profit from snacking on fruit and wholesome fat, reminiscent of nuts, as an alternative.

Group 3 obtained recommendation based mostly on their weight loss program, physique measurements and genetic data.

For instance, if somebody had a genetic threat of excessive ldl cholesterol, and was consuming numerous salty meat merchandise, we advised them they’ve a genetic variation and would profit from sustaining a wholesome consumption of saturated fats and regular levels of cholesterol. We prompt they swap processed meats, for instance burgers and sausages, for lean meats or skinless rooster breast.


So, does personalised vitamin work?

At the start and finish of the research we requested our volunteers to finish an internet questionnaire, which requested them how usually they consumed numerous meals and drinks.

We discovered individuals who obtained personalised dietary recommendation reduced their intake of discretionary foods greater than individuals who obtained regular dietary recommendation.

Interestingly, this enchancment in weight loss program was seen throughout all personalised vitamin teams; no matter whether or not recommendation was personalised based mostly on weight loss program, physique measurements or genetics, or a mix of those components.

That stated, we did see some proof that the addition of genetic data (group 3) helped adults to scale back their discretionary meals consumption greater than those that obtained recommendation based mostly on their weight loss program and physique measurements alone (group 2).

An older couple preparing vegetables in the kitchen.
We discovered personalised vitamin recommendation was related to more healthy consuming. Shutterstock

Our findings are in step with the broader proof on personalised vitamin.

In a latest systematic review we checked out outcomes from 11 personalised vitamin research performed throughout Europe and North America. We discovered total, personalised vitamin recommendation improved dietary habits greater than regular dietary recommendation.

What do these outcomes imply?

Our outcomes present personalised dietary recommendation can help individuals to eat much less junk meals. This ought to have vital implications for a way researchers and health-care professionals design wholesome consuming methods shifting ahead.

It’s vital to notice our pattern was made up of volunteers. So they might be extra health-conscious and motivated to enhance their dietary habits than the overall inhabitants.

We want analysis in additional various inhabitants teams, together with younger males and other people experiencing socioeconomic drawback. This can be vital for understanding whether or not personalised vitamin recommendation can profit everybody.


Some issues to think about

Lots of economic choices for personalised dietary recommendation are rising, reminiscent of corporations that provide genetic testing and supply dietary recommendation accordingly, however many are not supported by scientific evidence. Health-care professionals, reminiscent of dietitians, ought to stay the primary level of name when searching for dietary recommendation.

Personalised vitamin recommendation has the potential to enhance the weight loss program and well being of Australians. But the explanations for unhealthy diets are advanced, and embody wider social and environmental influences.

So exploring new methods to help individuals to eat more healthy diets is only one potential method to tackle the burden of unhealthy consuming and associated ill-health in Australia.

Katherine Livingstone, NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow and Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University

This article is republished from The Conversation beneath a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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